As popular as the actress is, Scarlett Johansson has been something of an easy target for jokes on social media for the past couple of years due to her controversial decisions to take on a Japanese character in Ghost in the Shell and a trans role in the aborted Rub & Tug biopic. Yesterday, some new comments from the star were released in which she stated her belief that “as an actor I should be allowed to play any person, or any tree, or any animal.”
Unfortunately, this quote didn’t go down well online, to say the least, as many felt Johansson’s words made light of the need for greater diversity in Hollywood by comparing minorities to trees. As you can imagine, there’s a range of responses out there, with some blasting the actress with angry comments and others penning intelligent arguments. But mostly, people just made a lot of jokes at Johansson’s expense.
And yes, folks couldn’t resist using Avengers: Endgame memes.
*character who's a minority*
scarlett johansson: pic.twitter.com/he4DWUSWdc
— gabe (@zakiyamahara) July 13, 2019
scarlett johansson’s next roles talking to each other pic.twitter.com/dLlTpku6Ca
— sutton ? (@nasaromanovas) July 13, 2019
lmao scarlett johansson was asked about giving up that trans role and then immediately jumped to comparing playing different gender identities/ethnicities to… animals and trees? ok hun pic.twitter.com/UjtmvGruEt
— Nina Mohan ?? (@NinaLMohan) July 13, 2019
Scarlett Johansson getting ready to infiltrate the aliens in Area 51 pic.twitter.com/rnFaPHTRCk
— omar ? (@jiminsmr) July 13, 2019
ScarJo is the highest paid female actor in 2018, banking $40.5 mil. But she feels entitled to take roles away from Asian, Trans & other underrepresented actors? https://t.co/vB0g2SlatA
— Nancy Wang Yuen (@nancywyuen) July 13, 2019
congrats to scarlett johansson on being cast in the little mermaid!!! pic.twitter.com/0dzzlhNFjx
— molly katherine (@mkgartnerr) July 14, 2019
In particular, people mined the “tree” part of the comment for a lot of material…
OMG guys I met scarlett johansson !!! pic.twitter.com/nFzJRRJgJp
— mina (@captainwilscn) July 13, 2019
Would like to see ScarJo play Grandmother Willow in a live-action Pocahontas remake. Since she wants to be a tree and all, but she'd probably want the titular role?♀️ pic.twitter.com/I4Xx73CqIT
— Jessica Peña ? (@the_cinemabliss) July 13, 2019
Considering Johansson’s role as Black Widow in the MCU, naturally there were plenty of Groot jokes going around, too:
James Gunn: I'm thinking about giving Groot a girlfriend in GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 3.
Scarlett Johansson: pic.twitter.com/TVdy26Nt5A
— Doug Jamieson (@itsdougjam) July 14, 2019
As funny as these reactions are, we have to give ScarJo the benefit of the doubt here. The actress has already responded to the backlash over her comments, pointing out that her words were taken out of context in the original piece by AS IF Magazine. In her response, the star makes clear that she supports “diversity in every industry” and will continue to “fight for projects where everyone is included.”
Scarlett Johansson‘s next movie hopefully won’t invoke too much controversy, as she’s currently filming the Black Widow solo film, something that’s been a long time coming. Somehow, it’s only the second female-led outing in the MCU, but we expect to hear a lot more about it at Marvel’s Hall H panel at Comic-Con this coming Saturday, July 20th.